When your life is full of color, choosing your favorite proves rather difficult. You don’t love each color equally and some get cast aside - forgotten and often discarded like that one crayon with the funny name. We smear and mix our colors, making new hues. We share our colors with the hope that someone can benefit from that one vibrant shade of blue. Or, we use one color so much that it ends up cracked and broken inside the box. At the end of the day, we are colorful - full of emotion and that’s what makes humanity the most beautiful piece of artwork that no artist can replicate.
The clock struck midnight, and just like that the artwork of 2016 was in the past. I breathed a sigh of relief with the people in my neighborhood who were blowing blow horns and blasting off fireworks. The year of smashed hopes and dreams for millions was finally over. Before closing my eyes, I smiled knowing that we had another year to repaint or simply add different colors to our canvas. Exhilarating. Beautiful. Encouraging. Our paint brush was clean and we were just handed 365 new colors with which to paint.
I rolled out of bed, had coffee and talked with my mom as I dressed for church. The sound of the rain pitter pattered on my roof, and I was thankful for its music. I imagined a sidewalk colored with a year full of chalk being washed clean. My grin was so wide that my face began to hurt. It was going to be one of the best days of 2017.
As I sat in church surrounded by some of my most favorite people, I watched as a little boy in front of me broke his crayons in half. He didn’t color the page before him. He just used the strength of his little fingers to multiply the sticks of colored wax. That little one reminded me of myself in 2016. He reminded me of the lessons I learned during the year that brought a lot of people to their knees, including me.
Our emotions are the paintbrushes, crayons and markers with which we color our lives and the world. My emotions are vibrant. Their shades are lovely and deep. I didn’t always think this, and I hated the darker colors of my emotions. My anger was black, sadness was grey, jealousy was the deepest of greens. Being 29 (almost 30) I have learned to balance those emotions, but I never really accepted the darker tones. They were the colors in the box that I thought were ugly. I hated to use them. I enjoyed using the brighter colors, the softer colors. Don’t we all? I realized that I needed those darker colors - even though they weren’t welcome at my table - to learn about myself.
After using as much of my pastels, neons and basics, I felt depleted. The black, grey and deep greens began to show through. But, they weren’t allowed on the canvas I was painting. They didn’t have a place on my palette, but they remained. I took a step back to admire what I created and was critical. Then I looked a little closer. So close my nose basically touched the painting. I laughed as tears began to fall from my ocean colored eyes. The work made sense. The dark colors actually flowed nicely with the bright. It was me. All of me. And, it was good. Really good.
All feelings of 2016 being one of the worst years aside, it was actually decent. A lot of color was used dark and light. Lessons were learned and mistakes were made. So, you and I are left with this canvas. We are left with our emotions. As we enter the first week of the year, we have the opportunity to laugh, cry, sing and scream as much as we want. All are welcome, all are beautiful and all are ok. Paint and color on, dear friends.